- November 21, 2006, 4:56 AM
With all other serious contenders out of the running, AirCell appears likely to win an FCC auction for a coveted slice of frequency spectrum that will enable the Englewood, Colo. company to provide air-to-ground high-speed Wi-Fi services. Enabled by financial backing from Ripplewood Holdings, a multibillion-dollar private-equity firm in New York, AirCell has placed a provisionally winning bid of $31.319 million for the 3-MHz license to provide in-flight broadband services to airlines and business aircraft operators in the U.S. Communications giant Verizon dropped out of the auction several days ago, leaving AirCell as the only serious bidder in the competition. Two other remaining bidders, JetBlue-controlled LiveTV and Space Data Spectrum Holdings, are vying for a second 1-MHz license unrelated to in-flight broadband. Once that portion of the auction ends, AirCell can be named the official winner of the 3-MHz auction.